I got the “red hair…don’t care” award from my residents a couple years ago. I loved it. They decided this award was best for me because I shoot pretty straight on most things; especially when it comes to the residents and medical students I work with. I say things like “here’s a great way NOT to impress your attending.” Or “how about we try not to say that in front of the patient.” I also have a thousand funny memes and sayings and have been known to let loose with my sarcasm at times.
In the spirit of all things “don’t care” I thought I would share with you what myself and my fellow OBGYN’s don’t care about that our patients seem to be all worked up over.
That your legs are not shaved. No seriously. I’m not giving you a leg massage. It really doesn’t bother us. We usually don’t even notice unless you bring it up. Confession: our legs probably aren’t freshly shaved either since most of us prefer to use that extra few minutes for sleep instead of time in the shower.
That you are on your period. I’m sure you hate it but we signed up to deal with it. Like every day. Remember we deliver babies and perform surgeries and see hundreds of women who are bleeding. We got this. Thanks for worrying about us but we will be fine.
That your socks don’t match or your toes aren’t manicured or you aren’t wearing your cutest undies. For the most part we get dressed in the dark. We come into the hospital in the middle of the night. Our socks might not match. Wearing underwear is considered enough. Please do wear it. You don’t have to wad it up and hide it from us under your other clothes, we don’t care what it looks like.
That you might see me in public. One time I saw someone bolting down the aisle at Target to avoid me. It’s OK if you see us at the grocery store or the gym or the PTO meeting (who am I kidding we are always at work during the PTO meetings) we will do our best to remember your name correctly and say hello but it won’t be awkward for us because we take very seriously protecting your privacy and honestly we don’t remember every detail from every patient…that’s why we take good notes!
That you have a ‘weird’ question. Trust me. Patients often say “I have a weird question” followed by something that is totally normal/common/not weird at all. There is not much we haven’t seen or heard. Not much we haven’t dealt with, walked patients through or bailed someone out of. What might seem weird to you is probably routine for us. So hit us up with your ‘weird’ questions.
What the internet (or your bestie) told you. If you come to the doctor with a plan in place for yourself then it makes our job harder. Instead of focusing on listening to your problem and making decisions on the best available evidence we spend time re-educating you about what you have read or heard. We are happy to provide you with that information but we really want to spend our time helping you get better.
So, here’s what we DO care about.
That you are honest with us. We can’t take care of you if we don’t know what is really going on. While most OBGYN’s are friendly and inquisitive by nature, we ask about who you are sleeping with and what medications you are taking because we want you to be safe and healthy, not just because we are nosy.
That you know we want what’s best for you. If you are honest with us we will listen, we will empathize and we will be honest with you. Sometimes that means we might tell you something that is hard to hear. Or give you bad news. But through it all we are doing are best to do what is best….for you. For your health and for your family. Try to remember that when the answer we give you isn’t necessarily what you wanted to hear or involves hard work. We want you to be safe so we are going to ask about any history of violence or dangerous behavior. We want you to be healthy so we are going to ask you about your diet and exercise habits. We don’t want to harm you so we might not be able to give you a medication you want or perform a procedure you would like to have.
That you know we are doing our best. Sometimes we run behind, we get stuck at the hospital or are dealing with a difficult situation. I can’t promise you won’t have to wait in our waiting rooms or that your surgery won’t be delayed or even that everything will turn out perfect, but know that we are doing our best to make sure you are taken care of as best we can. We are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and most importantly, human beings.
So there you have it. The truth from blonde covering gray hair who don’t care and will tell you how it is. Go ahead, don’t shave your legs. (Please note that my obgyn friends do ask that you please have clean feet when you arrive.) Ask the embarrassing question without even saying it’s ‘weird’. Say hello when you see us at the grocery store with our screaming children and sweat pants. And come to your physician with honesty and an open mind. Grace and peace, friends!